I had a chance to review the final pre-production parts on Brdi last week; there is nothing quite like parts fresh off the machine and still warm.
They will be produced on an Amada EM2510NT turret pouch press belonging to our new friends at Apahouser Inc. in Marlbough, MA. Its a huge, $60K beast capable of punching 3000 holes per minute (ALOT of holes) in a 9′ X 12′ sheet with 30 or so different tools in the turret. With the addition of a material handling system (for loading sheets and removing finished parts), it can run all night with the lights out – no operator oversight.
The Amada is a lot like a laser printer for holes in sheet metal, and like a laser printer, it’s fully automated, moves lightning fast. Metal goes in, lots of 3000-hole-per-minute noise, finished parts come out. In the era of ever faster, fully automated, digitally controlled manufacturing, most of these machines are becoming ‘black boxes’, surrounded by guards to keep hands out of high speed tool changes and cutting/punching action, obscuring the magic of tools in the process of forming parts.
Exciting to watch, but I have to say I miss some of the drama!
Launching a new project is always a thrill; our latest was particularly so. No one has ever done a bird feeder project on Kickstarter, Brdi is the very first. It’s always risky to blaze a new trail, but Brdi hit 300% in just 2 days and received the high honor of ‘Staff Pick’ from Kickstarter. Off to a great start!
What we like the most about Brdi is the ‘some assembly required’ aspect, remembering back to when I was a kid, assembling the surprise in the cereal box & my sisters Christmas toys, eventually building contraptions of my own. Our hope was that it would bring back the joy of ‘making’ things to anyone – a sort of IKEA-meets-nature thing. Who knows, Brdi could be the beginning of a whole line of foldy/makey products – seems like our friends are voting for that!
In the very early days of Onehundred – just a few months ago, actually – we began the process by searching our 100 mile zone for anyone and everyone who could produce anything. As long as they were in our zone, we’d take a look at what they could do. There is no real easy to use, one-stop database for local manufacturers (like Alibaba in Asia), so the process was quite manual. We were assembling our dream team!
One of the more intriguing manufacturers we came across was Insignia in Worcester, MA; they produce baseball gloves. Beyond the exciting prospect of being able to produce a line of Onehundred leather goods someday, they had a similar mission – to produce locally, using US leather, local talent, local production. We felt we could learn alot from them – if we could just find a way to get in the door. So when Tuls started taking shape, we stretched the concept a bit to include the perfect wallet for a great set of tools; launched today on Dragon Innovation.
The first prototypes of the Tuls wallet were 95% right, some simple tweaks & some tooling and we will soon have our very first leather line.
I met Scott Miller, founder of the new hardware crowd funding platform, Dragon Innovation earlier this year. Full of enthusiasm with an incredible product development resume, I was most intrigued by Scott’s vision for combining project coaching, fund raising and production liaison on complex hardware device projects. There are plenty of innovative crowd funded hardware products out there that could have certainly benefited form their guidance – the successful delivery of Pebble Watch is one of their success stories.
Several conversations later, we decided to collaborate and launch the Ollie project on Dragon Innovation. As you may have gathered, we simply love the crowd funding in all of its various iterations, but most important, we’re interested in helping crowd funding evolve into the vibrant mainstream form that we know it will eventually become.
Ollie is ‘among giants’ on the Dragon Innovation site, surrounded by some unbelievably sophisticated devices from VERY impressive teams… good neighbors to have!
We hope you’ll check out Dragon Innovation, spend some time to understand their focus and how they work. They are filling an important (and sorely missing) need in the emerging world of crowd funded hardware startups!
The Tuls project is a little more then half way through on Kickstarter, clearing 2000%+ of our original funding goal to date; a real endorsement for our Onehundred brand.
From the very start, our backer community pushed hard for Titanium in their comments – a new material for us to work with: surprisingly light (& very expensive) with unique manufacturing properties. While we were considering it for later in the project, demand pushed us to fast track our development; we didn’t want to offer anything we weren’t 100% confident with. We announced it in the second week of the project, pledges nearly doubled the following day.
What the press is saying about Tuls:
“Sturdy material precise design” – Coolhunting.com
“Best tool since the Swiss Army knife” – Bubblews.com
“Bring more utility to your wallet” – Wired.com
“A really nice design solution” - Modular4kc.com
Not bad for our second project!